Do any fellow COTH'ers have there local feed mill make sweet feed in bulk for them? I am tossing around the idea here because at 17.99 for a 50lb bag and feeding between 4-7 is getting a little on the expensive side. Especially since the last time I got feed it was 14.99 a bag! Anyways, the gang does not eat just sweet feed, we get Rice Bran, Equine Senior, and Strategy Healthy Edge for feed and then for supplements they all get Equi-Shine and the Dr's Choice Pro-biotic. My horses with scratches also get the Equi-Shine Ultimate fed to them.
Okay, so my real question is, where did you get your recipe from? The mill will make me whatever I want, I just need to supply them a recipe. Can anyone give me an idea of where to start, or does anyone have a recipe that they would be willing to share with me?
It's been a while since I had enough horses for the 500# feed minimum, so I don't recall *my* recipe. But what I did was ask them for their basic 12% or 14% horse feed recipe, as well as pricing for specific other feeds (crimped oats rather than whole, etc).
Their recipe was pretty much roasted and rolled corn, soybean hulls, whole oats, equine pellets (trace nutrients and protein), and molasses.
I fiddled with the ratios, decreased the molasses, and swapped out grain ingredients until I had the mix I wanted to feed my guys. The folks at the mill were very helpful in determining the amount of pellets needed to hit an approximate overall protein percentage. Also, if you have supplements that can be mixed into the sweet feed, you can probably drop them off/buy them there and they'll add it while they're mixing.
Always have...well for over 20 yrs had the local mill mix my own blend. The "recipe" changes as my horses needs change. Meaning the extreme easy keepers I have now are not fed the same as the herd I had 10 yrs ago. They were not hard keepers by any means but not the easy keepers I have now. And with the growing season too. Last year clean hay was hard to find. This year this is plenty. So my ration changed too for this fall as I will be feeding most horses only 2lbs of feed thru winter. They will be outside eating hay for the most part and I needed a very concentrated ration.
I will gladly help you formulate a ration. But you need to PM me some details. Like breed, age, work load etc. That amount of hay you are feeding, what kind and if you have any test info that is good.
Also does your mill have any test info for the ingredients?
Finally what is your feeding style? Meaning are you feeding X times per day and want to add an X lbs to each feeding.
One final tid bit of info....these small older mills can have a ton of mixing issues and it is my suggestion to NOT use loose minerals. Instead you need a premix pellet or crumble to balance the ration and supply vit and minerals as these mix in well with a grain ration. Depending on what your mill carries and the ingredients you use that means you will need either/or/both a premixed balancer pellet and a premixed fortifier pellet.
I would agree to not mix in your minerals and supplements with the base grain. Horses will be getting various quantities of feed, so they may not get enough of the extras, if they may only need a pound of feed.
Most mixes are fed to make numbers, if horse doesn't get the "recommended" daily amount, horse will come up short on the minerals and supplements.
Just having a base grain mix to give everyone, you just add the needed amount for each horse of the extras. Then you KNOW each horse got the quantity they need daily.
I have my grain mixed at the local Elevator, using a recipe that works well for us. I never add molasses, it molds quickly in our humid weather, horses eat the grain fine without molasses. I don't want to pay for sugar calories they don't need, take the chance of feeding them moldy grain. A bit dusty, but they still lick the mangers clean.
We tweak quantities fed, depending on the work each horse is doing. Same mix for everyone, they all look good. And even with the price of corn now, the mix still is cheaper than buying name-brand grain mixes.
Our Elevator recommends a larger quantity, over 300#, to get a good mix of the grains. I store my grain in galvanized garbage cans, easy to use for us, holds a lot of grain so I can buy in large quantities.
I would give the Elevator mix a try, see how it works out for you. You may need to tweak the recipe for your use of horses, other things they consume for a big picture. Compare prices over a little time, see how the horses do with your recipe. Then make a choice on cost, effort to get and handle the grain, adding the extras daily, how well the horses are doing on it.
We buy the premixed 12% molassed feed from the local mill, which they do sell bagged up and to be honest it's the same recipe my trainer was using and the old guy was eating, so that's what I asked for.
Hallway Feeds is at Farmer's mill in Lexington and they have several premixed recipes you can also buy bagged, or will do a custom blend bagged, or either type delivered to your grain bin in bulk.
D taylor's offer is extremely generous if s/he has experience in equine nutrition and should get you the best value for your feed dollar.
I don't buy "horse" feed. I buy 14% calf feed, non-medicated of course. It's $2-3 less per bag than a similar feed labeled for horses. I also feed whole shelled corn. If I were still in NY, I'd probably look for a dairy pellet (no rumensin!) that would suit my needs. The only supplement I usually add is Diamond V yeast, though I just put in an order for flax seed for a colt I'd like to try to put more weight and shine on. They do just as well on this mill mix + corn as they have on brand name feeds.
Just for fun I played with Excel to come up with different formulations and prices and came close to what I'd want, but didn't bother to find out what V/M premixes were available, and I just used averages for different feedstuffs, so couldn't completely work it out. If I could get ear corn cheap(sometimes it's a lot cheaper than shell corn) I could make an economical feed with a base of corn and cob meal. I'm not skeered of corn (or soy or molasses for that matter)- my horses are not air ferns and don't have metabolic issues. If you Google horse feed mixes you can come up with a starting point. Most of the larger mills also have someone well versed in nutrition to come up with an economical mix for you if you have an idea of what you want.
I would use rolled or cracked corn in any feed mix, strictly because the horses will get better feed usage if the kernals are broken when eaten. This has been shown in feed tests, because the horses may not chew the kernals well enough to break them for digestion. More of the whole kernals go thru the horse, so you get no feed value from them at all.
Study I am thinking of was quite a while ago, tested the broken corn kernals against whole kernals, rolled oats against plain oats, for digestibility and what the horses got out of grains in the various forms. End result showed it was worth paying to get the broken corn kernals in your feed mix. Horse got a LOT of feed values from the corn then almost 90%. It was not worth paying the extra to get rolled oats over plain oats, because oats were cheaper and gave a much lower feed value to the horse anyway.
If you didn't mind paying more, rolled oats were better value for feeding older horses with poor teeth. Just not a "big enough" feed factor in getting quantity feed mixes made, to pay extra for rolled oats, back at time of the test. Test was looking at getting the best feed values for horses, for your money. Oats were mostly being fed for the roughage factor in the gut. That test didn't show oats to be real valuable as a feedstuff despite historic use as a horse feed.
We've used the mill's crimped sweet feed (the whole feed is run through the crimper and is easier to digest for my seniors, includes oats and cracked corn) and added roasted soybean, alfalfa pellets and ground flax plus some extra molasses so it wasn't so dry. Worked great and was about $17 per 100 pounds.